Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A POLISH TABLE
I have more people than I ever expected tell me that for years they can't read my writing because it makes them tear up, cry, or down right sob.
I wonder what it is in us that doesn't allow us to be human - to be honest. Is it embarrassing, frightening, risky, or does it wake us up and take us to a place where we have to confront our vulnerability and humaness?
My writing is intimate, honest, and I hope brave. Not writing from that intense and honest place inside is not writing the truth. For me it is difficult, no it is impossible, to put words on paper when I am not being honest. Writing or telling the truth takes me to a deeper place, whether in life, relationships, or revalations.
Sometimes it is excruciating and then sometimes refreshing. But it is always honest. So today ask yourself if perhaps this is a place some of you shy away from.
This morning I wrote from bed, watching the rain falling like a soft blanket of peace on the bay at South Padre Island. The world here is in shades of gray. I listen to Josh Groban sing, "like the sound of silence calling," and I feel an underlying sense of sadness and yet an overwhelming sense of peace. The world is still for me this morning. I am used to the friendship of loneliness.
So as I actually write with pen and paper, I find I am sad for a friend who told me this week that he was fundamentally 'not happy' and another tell me he 'was just trying to stay alive.' It was interesting that in their honesty to tell me the truth, they found the precise language to say it. As in my writing, I must find the precise words that are not polished or false to convey a message, a thought, or pain. Again I ask why do we live in places where our souls aren't ?
To tell the truth is exhausting, but detrimental to do it any other way. My writing must leave no doubt as to what I am telling you, or not telling myself. So I write about what I darn well want to. There is enough bitterness and falsehood in writing and in life. So yes perhaps there is an energy to my writing, an emotional ability to touch people in a place inside of them where they find tears that need to be released. And that is good, and that is real ,and that is honest, and should be held close to the heart.
I have an extraordinary one hundred year old eight foot table whose top was once a floorboard from a farm house in Poland. This table holds stories and beauty and clarity and truth. Not polished, not hiding deformities, it is honest in its realness. I love and am humbled by this table, as it does not hide the past, the mistakes, the love, the footprints of life as it reveals itself.
So yes, revealing myself might make others uncomfortable or sad, because they might be caught up in choosing to hide from the reality of their own lives. Author Julia Cameron, writes in The Right to Write, "They might just not want to know what they know. So they stear clear of the page and the clarity that it affords them." She continues, "The truth is not always pleasant, but the results of truth are a solid sense of self, a safe sense of possibility and a companion to walk us from the life that we've got now into the life we would like better."
So today in the fog on the island, I write to plunge deeper into who I am, to be brave, caring, and vulnerable.
Today and most days, I write about something that touches me, and I write these things to share and touch someone else.
And today I invite you to open your eyes to life, with all of its pain, deformities, and confusion. For this is facing the truth. Cowering in a corner hiding fills your life with empty pleasures, as you get lost in extremes of fear, indulgences, distractions, or avoidances, that keep you out of balance. Don't let your life become a record of all the things you wish you had done, might have done, or should have done.
Letting go of what we had once hoped for, what we had thought our lives would or should be, allows us to be fully present right where we are right now. Perhaps it is in this letting go of what we think defines us that we come face to face with the fear of being empty, alone, or deprived. But we also just might find life. Jack Kornfield in Soul Food, says "Letting go of our fear and habits allow a more spacious wisdom to emerge."
Maybe, just maybe it is all the stuff, all the crap, that we go through and endure that keeps us moving forward. Maybe letting go of our fear is exactly what we need. Perhaps that is where we find the truth and life.